Creative Writing Imagery

the writer must be confident enough in his or her own imaging ability to stop when it's time to stop, because as we all know, the joy of reading novels, which no movie can equal, is the joy of seeing in the mind, feeling the fantasy flower in the way that is unique to each individual reader. In my creative writing class, we begin the semester-long class with an exercise that helps students find the right words to convey to their readers the sensory details that bring the story alive. First, it describes using sensory language, and second, it evokes strong feelings in the reader.

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We’ve all had that experience of reading a book then being smacked with an image that blows you away; a line that is visceral, or poignant, or sums up the moment perfectly.

And when you look back at a book you’ve read those powerful images stay with you.

It introduces the idea of a specific emotion that’s playing out inside him, and adds the layer of how deeply it affects him.

Regret is like a predator, and he feels like prey–vulnerable, exposed.

Picking multiple related images to try and evoke the same emotional response will actually be counterproductive.

Once you’ve identified an occasion that would benefit from imagery in description, pick one image and stick to it.A lot of writers are terrified of doing any kind of telling, and I understand why.And that’s where this overuse of imagery comes into play.Sasha sat on her bed, watching Ted take in her meagre possessions… Words like ‘crude’, ‘bent’, and ‘dropped’ all allude to Sasha’s downfall in running away from home, while the image of her being ‘aflame with orange light’ basks her in a destructive but warming glow. Egan doesn’t need to tell us what colour curtains hang in the room or what kind of look is on Sasha’s face.the sun finally dropped into the center of her window and was captured inside her circle of wire. Egan probably sees these details in her mind when she writes, but it’s not necessary for the reader to see them.The reader must only see that sun dip into the circle of wire, because that is where the heart of the image lies.In his essay King says: Leave in the details that impress you the most strongly; leave in the details you see the most clearly; leave everything else out...Give the reader just enough information that they can form the image on their own, and be content with it.One of my favourite images is on pages 240-241 of In the middle of the window, dangling from a string, hung a crude circle made from a bent coat hanger. ‘It’s mine.’ Egan captures this poignant moment perfectly, using simple language and the imagery of the bent coat hanger and the sun to say something important about Sasha’s character and her situation.Recently, I’ve walked a few full novel editing clients through the use of imagery in writing. I decided to write a post about it because there seems to be some confusion about what imagery in description is, when to use it, and why you’d want to in the first place. I have an MFA in Creative Writing, and as you can imagine, us Creative Writing MFAs spend a lot of time sitting around in coffee houses, thinking about the building blocks of the fiction craft. I’d argue that, here, there is no need for an image. ) Well, one of those important building blocks is imagery in description. An image is a description that is meant to evoke emotion. Because we all know that the number one thing a fiction writer must do is make the reader care. Imagery in writing serves to deepen the reader’s understanding of what’s going on and how to feel about it. Here’s a good example of imagery used incorrectly: to our understanding that he’s hungry? It’s restating the information and there’s no sense of depth or enhancement.


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